If you don't know, on Wednesday, Intel announced it is about to join the Penta-Level Cell (PLC) club, where each individual NAND cell will be able to store 5 bits. A club that curiously already had the presence of the giant Toshiba.
So for the traditional consumer this means that SSD storage technology is about to get cheaper with even larger amounts of memory.
You can't buy PLC SSDs yet, but when that happens, you'll most likely see a revolution in the market… But not everything will be good!
To understand how this all works, we have to go back and see what SSD design is all about. Where everything is around the amount of bits a NAND cell can store. Now look:
- SLC – Single Layer Cell. One bit per cell, technology typically found in cache layers or super fast SSDs in the business world.
- MCL – Multi Layer Cell. Two bits per cell. We can find several such products in the market like Samsung 860 Pro.
- eMLC – Enterprise Multi Layer Cell. Same MLC but with lower speeds to lower the number of errors in memory. (Same 2 bits per cell)
- TLC – Triple Layer Cell. 3 bits per cell, a technology that dominates today's market.
- QLC – Quadruple Layer Cell. 4 bits per cell, technology we can already find on the market in products like the super cheap Samsung 860 QVO.
- PLC – Penta Layer Cell. 5 bits per cell, the new technology that Toshiba and Intel are betting on.
That said, while SLC memory has incredible performance, while being quite durable, it's super expensive to produce. Because of this, SSDs only started to come and dominate the consumer market when MLC memory arrived. But now let's talk about the latest technologies, and how speed has begun to slow.
Although PLC SSDs are a cheaper technology, they will also be slower…
After all, most modern SSDs use TLC memory with a small SLC layer as cache. So as long as you don't have to mess with large amounts of data, writing will seem super fast. However, as soon as you start working on slower memory, you will feel the speed drop.
Let's look at the speeds of Samsung 860 SSDs with MLC, TLC and QLC technology, to get an idea of the thing:
- Pro 512GB MLC (Write Speed-> 530MB / s)
- EVO 512GB TLC (Write Speed -> 300MB / s)
- QVO 1TB QLC (Write Speed -> 80MB / s)
In short, we still don't know how fast PLC memory is… But the progression we have seen has been no big deal! Still, prices are moving, and this will eventually be positive for the consumer.
Besides, what do you think about all this? Share with us your opinion in the comments below.
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